Summary: Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate a significant increase in the use of hallucinogenic drugs, mostly magic mushrooms, in England and Wales. This rise is primarily attributed to increased use by older adults, while overall drug use among younger people has declined.
Rise in Magic Mushroom Use Among Older Adults in England and Wales
The ONS’s annual data on drug use among 16 to 59-year-olds reveals that approximately 260,000 people in this age group have taken magic mushrooms in the last year, marking an increase of 100,000 users since 2020. Magic mushrooms, known for containing the psychedelic compound psilocybin, are classified as a class A drug in England, making their possession and distribution criminal offenses. Despite this, they are available online, including in grow-your-own packs, and many users harvest them in the wild.
The increase in magic mushroom use coincides with a cultural boom in interest in mushrooms, as evidenced by popular literature and media such as Merlin Sheldrake’s bestseller “Entangled Life” and the Netflix series “Fantastic Fungi.” Users like Simon, an architect in his fifties, have turned to micro-dosing dried mushrooms to improve mood, finding them more effective than antidepressants.
While larger doses of magic mushrooms can lead to psychologically destabilizing experiences, they are not considered addictive. The biggest health danger is mistakenly consuming a poisonous mushroom. However, the drug advice service Frank warns that magic mushrooms can exacerbate mental health issues.
The growing interest in psychedelic drugs for treating depression is notable, with research, including a paper involving Imperial College London, showing that psychedelics, coupled with psychological support, can rapidly improve mood in people with depression, with effects lasting for months.
Source: The Guardian
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